Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Making Improvements to your LinkedIn Profile

Give yourself the gift of a LinkedIn profile makeover this holiday season, and see yourself reap the benefits over the course of next year. Trust me, we all need it esp. in this economic scenario. Chris Brogan, shared a Lifehack article on Google Reader earlier today – 10 Improvements you can make to your resume right now.

Reading through the article (nicely written by Thursday Bram), I realized many of these tips will be taken care of if you spend less time just fine-tuning or creating a LinkedIn Profile! Let’s go through the list.

1. Funky fonts – ditched!

It’s LinkedIn. Not only do you not have to worry about the wrong size of the font, LinkedIn also allows you to publish your resume in PDF format once you’re done editing your profile.

linkedin_-edit-my-profile-1

2. Put your skills up front

On LinkedIn, this automatically happens since you’ve your “Summary” and more importantly your “Specialties” right before you get into your detailed profile. Better still, feel free to add keywords you’d like people to find you by when they search for individuals in specific niche categories.

linkedin_-edit-my-profile2

3. Spell check

Now, this is something I’d like to do on LinkedIn itself. But luckily my browser – Firefox, allows me to do that. Moving on…

4. Make everything match

This is when you send out an application with cover letter, resume, etc…

5. Minimize your job description, put dates at the end, don’t leave big gaps, align everything

LinkedIn is actually well suited and structured to enable you to stick to the above three rules. Plus, remember you can both print and PDF the final output (see #1)

9. Keep religious information out of it

D’uh!

10. Adhere to your industry’s conventions

This is actually the area where LinkedIn can provide you maximum bang for your buck! LinkedIn’s powerful people search allows you to find your colleagues with a similar title or a dream title. This should serve as a template as you craft a profile that adheres to industry conventions.

inbox-linkedin-exchange-1

Better still, the new saved people search option (see above) allows you to receive an email with a specific search on a weekly basis. Here’s my most recent results for bloggers on LinkedIn!

Go on. Try LinkedIn’s People Search.

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features

ROI of Viral Marketing

Seth Godin pens a classic blog post that questions the effectiveness of “viral marketing”. And, while doing so, he raises an important challenge that bedevils marketers who create social media.

We create content that is hampered or selfish or boring. Or we create something completely viral that doesn’t do any marketing at all.

He’s absolutely right!

Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing. Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your stupid video? It didn’t market you or your business in a tangible, useful way.

So, what is? A truly viral Product. Eureka!

If you want to do viral marketing, you can try to come up with a viral ad, but you’ll probably fail. You’re better off building the viral right into the product, creating a product that spreads because you designed it that way.

I couldn’t agree more. It actually reminds me of Guy’s mantra on evangelism being intrinsically tied to the worth of the product itself.

The starting point of evangelism is having a great thing to evangelize. It is a product or service that improves the lives of people, ends bad things, or perpetuates good things. It is not simply an exchange of things/services for money.

In your minds, as a marketer, what is the true ROI on virality? Have you worked on campaigns that involved viral marketing. How did you measure success and what were your goals/metrics? Feel free to share.

Filed under: Miscellaneous, Social Media ROI

Twitter’s Monetization Conundrum – Solved?!

New York Times’ Randall Stross wrote a piece yesterday, outlining some of the “difficulties in making brand advertising work on social networking sites. Members of social networks want to spend time with friends, not brands.”

That’s a theme I’ve stressed on in posts as far back as in August, when I compared it to a Pyramid scheme. Call it what you will, but this idea of becoming pitch-men to your close friends could damage your social brand. As Randall writes:

And when they try to take advantage of new “social advertising,” extending their commercial message to a member’s friends, their ads will be noticed, all right, but not necessarily favorably. Members are understandably reluctant to become shills.

Why is Twitter different

However, in my estimation, Twitter may be immune to such ad targeting hardships primarily because of the inherent promiscuity in following and lack of intimacy with the nodes in the network that Twitterers exhibit. This strangely enough, leads to your sharing an incredible amount of information about yourself as candidly as possible!

So, while I carefully prune and maintain my true social network (~230 friends), I’m followed by nearly 2000 folks on Twitter. While I’ve shared ~600 Posted Items on my social networking site of choice, I’ve shared ~4000 tweets on stuff I love and hate in half that time. Here’s a sampling of thoughts/tweets, which is less than a week old:

Subscriptions to GQ & Esquire, Ads for Gap, Banana Republic?

What’s your favorite scarf wrap? http://tinyurl.com/6rmjmf I prefer the Loophole.

Targeted Fandango ads, please…

Such a flattering review of “The Wrestler” and Rourke’s performance by the New Yorker – http://tinyurl.com/6djqa5

Benjamin Button LA Premiere – Variety Photo Gallery http://tinyurl.com/5mocyf

Netflix/Blockbuster DVD ads for either Jim Carrey movies or Nolan’s Dark Knight:

The Existential Clown, Jim Carrey – The Atlantic (December 2008) http://tinyurl.com/5k6shb

Christopher Nolan analyzes his favorite scene in ‘Dark Knight’ | PopWatch Blog | EW.com http://tinyurl.com/5566oy

Guess what? I don’t mind if I’d received ads for a Dark Knight DVD or premiere tickets to the Wrestler. Twitter is like Google in that it’s intent based – in Google (you search for stuff and advertisers find you), while on Twitter (you say it out loud and advertisers could find you). Either way, there is massive benefit for the user.

In conclusion, Twitter would be a terrific buy for a search engine, where much of this valuable information is already being indexed. And, Given Ev’s (Twitter co-founder) history with Google (he sold “Blogger” to Google in 2004), the possibility seems all the more intriguing.

What do you think is Twitter’s easiest path to monetization?

Follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/mariosundar

Filed under: Twitter

Finding “Birds of Your Feather” on Twitter!

Twitter is the rage all again, what with folks following layoffs on Twitter, their favorite music celebrities (Kanye West, Britney Spears, etc…), sports celebrities and more. But most professionals I know give Twitter a try and then give up for a variety of reasons – chief among which is that Twitter can be a huge time sink and a distraction if not used properly.

PBS Media Shift’s Simon Owens laments the increasing frequency with which his email Inbox fills up with Twitter alerts of new followers, which owes its genesis to “reciprocal friending” – the compulsion to follow someone who starts following you! The post goes on to stumble upon an important commandment of social network “friending” (via Minjae Ormes):

For me, it’s just simple mathematics: Every person I add is just another set of tweets that I’ll have to scroll through to get to the ones I really want to read.

That’s the only rule I follow on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And, that’s the one rule everyone will realize sooner vs. later…which is friend those individuals whose updates you actually want to read! Interestingly, LinkedIn started the trend of showing you who those valuable connections may be with a feature “People You May Know”. Facebook has something similar and now for Twitter you’ve got Mr. Tweet, which I highly recommend.

Step 1: All you’ve to do is Follow Mr. Tweet

In return, Mr. Tweet will suggest

1. Your followers you should follow

2. Influencers you should follow

Saves you time and ensures you follow the folks you ought to be following. Do you have a “friending” strategy? Explain in the comments. Speaking of Twitter friending, Jeremiah has put together a tweet-up at the British Banker’s Club in Menlo Park tomorrow. If you’re attending, let me know by leaving a comment or DM me on Twitter.

Filed under: Miscellaneous, Twitter

5 must-read articles on recession proofing your job/career

Not a great start to the week. Apparently, Yahoo! will be letting go ~1500 employees this Wed. Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in the articles that describe how to cope with such a situation. Here are five must-read articles on dealing with layoffs (hat tip: Lifehacker for the first two articles below).

  1. Web Worker Daily – 5 ways to recession proof your career
  2. Brazen Careerist – Maybe there’ll be a recession. Here’s what to do, just in case
  3. Get Rich Slowly – Living with and learning from layoffs
  4. Moolanomy – Recession proof your job: 4 ways to avoid the pink slip
  5. Harvard Business – Recession proof yourself: 4 tips for twenty-somethings

Also, do yourself a favor and subscribe to any or all of the above blogs (links above) since they continue publishing tips on dealing with the  economic nightmare we find ourselves in. And, count yourself lucky, if your current job is one of the following ten.

Feel free to share any other articles on this topic that may be of help to our readers.

Subscribe to Marketing Nirvana

Filed under: Miscellaneous

The Death & Rebirth of Bookmarking (E.g. del.icio.us)

Gone are the days when bookmarking came to signify one company – del.icio.us, now a property of Yahoo! The site  along with Wikipedia signaled the emergence of sites that tapped into the Wisdom of the Crowds. However, I noticed that I’ve stopped using delicious a while back. And, so I asked my twitter audience who among them used Delicious these days.

Here’s a sampling:

Mike Sansone/Iowa (Twitter id)

I don’t use delicious as much since the redisign (tho that’s not why), I’m finding I can easily bookmark on GoogRdr & FrndFd

Aurelio Montemayor/ Texas (Twitter id)

yes…our editor just held a second session on D. It’s helped me organize my favs and also accesses other’s favs

Damon Garrett/ South Korea  (Twitter id)

Inertia ties me to Delicious. Probably other ways to sync + tag b/marks, but it works. Not sure of the true social benefits.

Scott Drummond/Australia (Twitter id)

why not?I find delicious handy for tagging stuff I want to read later and for sharing stuff with certain firneds only.

My bookmarking strategy and what may have killed delicious?

First off, I notice a certain ambivalence about bookmarking sites in general from the above responses and my bookmarking strategy may offer some answers.

There are two kinds of bookmarks in everyone’s life:

1. Personal bookmarks (Home/Work)

Private bookmarks that I don’t want shared across the world. A Firefox extension called Foxmarks does a decent job of syncing my personal bookmarks between work and home – even going so far as creating a separate profile for each. Hopefully, in the future, Mozilla will get their act together with Weave, achieving something similar.

On a larger scale, I think the ability to share articles I read both on Facebook (via Posted Items) and LinkedIn (via News) enables me to broadcast my bookmarks among a larger yet still private social network of mine.

2. Public/Shared bookmarks

Google Reader, which I’m addicted to, makes it super easy to share articles I read (both inside and outside of Reader). Plus, everything shared/bookmarked is searchable and publicly visible on a Shared Bookmarks page.

Here’s where it gets better. Using a cool service called Twitterfeed, I can then populate my Twitter feed with the articles I share on Google Reader! Facebook too, allows me to import my Google Reader page. So, more than 2000 of my followers get to read what’s on my mind via my bookmarks.

Bottomline: As Damon mentions above, not many people are aware of the social benefits of delicious anymore. This, combined with the emergence of effective alternatives (search and social networking sites) may have doomed delicious.

But, hey, that’s just my take. What in your opinion killed delicious? Or, do you think, they’re alive and kicking. Drop in your $0.02 in the comments section below.

Filed under: Curation

3 actions that could either save you from a layoff or after one!

Well, sorry for being so dramatic, but I couldn’t help it. I just read this gem of a post from financial productivity blog, Get Rich Slowly. Wait till you hear the title of their blog post – 10 Essential steps to take BEFORE you’re laid off. I told you I wasn’t being so dramatic!

Some of the 10 steps, outlined by Kevin Merritt, echoed some of the oft-repeated themes on this blog. In particular ways to use social media to find your dream job! You know where I’m going with this. So, here are three essential steps you can should carry out whether you’re looking for a job or looking to keep one.

Rest assured, these three steps will help position your online professional brand in as little as 10 minutes. Here goes.

Step 1: For Pete’s sake, get yourself a LinkedIn profile

If you’re not on LinkedIn in this day and age, you’re probably reading the wrong blog. Well, don’t worry, if you don’t have one – just go get yourself one. It’d take all of 5 minutes to get yourself all set up.

Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool. Be honest, genuine and show some humility, but also make yourself stand out in a crowd. Optimize your profile for the five-line preview that comes up when someone conducts a search.

And, as Kevin recommends, optimize your profile. Guy’s post on a LinkedIn extreme makeover edition is still the gold standard when it comes to tips on hacking your LinkedIn profile in the shortest time. Take a read. If you’re from Marketing/PR/Sales/Business Development, feel free to use my LinkedIn profile as an example.

Step 2: Learn to use LinkedIn the right way

Now that you have that shiny new LinkedIn profile, all set to shine when someone searches for that elusive marketing consultant, you may want to proactively enhance your professional brand. You know, give LinkedIn a real workout. And, that’s where I jump in to provide an unsolicited pitch for the LinkedIn Blog (OK, I manage/edit the blog) and I’m proud of the content that over 50 of my colleagues have helped create on topics that range from examples of users sharing tips on winning that million dollar client – thanks to LinkedIn (I, kid you not!) to breaking news on product functionality such as LinkedIn’s next-gen search.

But, I digress. Before you get all professional on LinkedIn, there are simple steps you can take to add to your professional street-cred. For e.g.: let your online network resemble your real-world network

Future employers aren’t dumb. They’ll detect that you only decided to invest in updating your profile and expanding your network and references after you lost your job. Do it now. Like physical networking, developing your virtual network takes time too. Set goals. For example: “I want to have 100 contacts by the end of the year and 250 contacts by this time next year.”

Here’s the best part. This simple task of importing your existing email contacts to LinkedIn shouldn’t take you a whole year, rather a few minutes. Ready. Set. Import.

Step 3: Get a blog

I know this would go against the other commandment – “get a life” but rest assured if you learn this valuable skill you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from among millions of other talented individuals. As I’ve said before, think of a blog as your competitive advantage. An insurance package that you break into, in case of an emergency. And, guess what, this may be just the right time for you to spend an hour a day (even once a week would suffice) sharing your thoughts on professional stuff.

Your blog is your living resume. It shows how you think. It shows how you write. It shows what’s important to you. While it is fine to blog about personal topics, devote half of your posts to professional content. What is that you do by trade? Mentor us through your blog. We employers love hiring mentors — they raise everybody’s performance.

Readers of this blog, may recall the blog discussion I had with Adam Darowski on exactly this topic almost 20 months ago – Your blog is your resume. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead. Prove your professional mettle on your career blog. It just may save your job or find you one!

Questions? Tips? Leave a comment.

Filed under: Linkedin

Speaking at Web Video Leadership Forum

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Looks like we’re already in the middle of a very busy week.

Today, I’ll be speaking on a panel at the Web Video Leadership Forum at San Francisco State University. The topics we intend discussing (see below) will include areas that I’m sure readers of this blog will find interesting.

My fellow panelists include:

Moderator: Robb Miller, Vice President of Sales, Western US Region, The FeedRoom

- Dan Ambrosi, Partner, Ambrosi Consulting

- Todd Grossman, Vice President, Sales and Client Services, MultiVu

- Jill Tanner, Executive Producer, Corporate Video Program, Hewlett Packard

BTW, I can’t help but offer some unsolicited LinkedIn advice: Whenever you attend events or speak at conferences, do a LinkedIn People Search to learn more about your fellow attendees/panelists/speakers. You can learn more about LinkedIn’s new search in my earlier post here.

Topics we’ll discuss on the panel tomorrow include:

- How are leading organizations using web video to achieve branding and communications objectives?

- How can video be deployed in my organization in a way that is cost-effective and least disruptive to your network and infrastructure?

- What changes/evolutions can I expect to see over the next 6, 12, 18 months?

If you’ve any questions along those lines, leave a comment

In the meanwhile check out LinkedIn’s social video content on YouTube and/or Vimeo.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

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